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Hope tire smoke doesn't make you cough.
"Experience the utmost in road racing realism."
—Arcade tagline
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A driving game first to hit the arcades in 1986, OutRun amounts to a time-attack Speed Run. You, a manly man in his Ferrari, start at the start line, and Race Against the Clock to a Checkpoint at the end of the stage. You are accompanied by a token female passenger, who presumably was attracted solely by the horsepower. Along the way, you must avoid other motorists and assorted roadside obstacles, lest you crash in a variety of entertaining ways. Just before that checkpoint, the road forks into two, and each fork will allow you to access a differently-themed area; generally, the right-facing path is more difficult than the left-facing one. Get through five stages, and you reach the finish line. Depending on the route you take (and the final stage you reach), you'll get Multiple Endings.

The game was successful enough to get itself ported to the Sega Genesis (and pretty much everything else of the same generation as the Genesis), and spawned lots of sequels. They all follow the same formula, though several of them add an opponent to race against in addition to the clock and standard traffic.

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To date, the series goes as follows:

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This series contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The lady in the passenger seat gets her backstory explained in the OutRun 2 song "Life was a Bore".
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: In the original game, the prancing horse on the car always matches the direction you're driving.
  • Arcade-Perfect Port: Only two: the SEGA Saturn version in the "SEGA Ages" line, and the version included with the Xbox release of OutRun 2. Consoles released prior to the Saturn weren't powerful enough to perfectly emulate the game, while later ports modify the car to look less like a Testarossa.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The totally absurd ability to powerslide from OutRun 2 onwards. It makes Ridge Racer and Need for Speed: Underground look like totally Serious Business driving simulators.
  • A Winner Is You: One of the first prominent example of averting this, consistently since the first game due to it have multiple finish paths, however played straight in the Dolled-Up Installment OutRun 2019.
  • The Bus Came Back: In OutRun 2, aside from the Testarossa debuted in the original, the Ferrari F40 returns from Turbo OutRun. And both were also fully-licensed along with other Ferraris.
  • The Cameo: Orta and her dragon make an unexpected one in 2 SP DX and following versions if players can get through two courses without colliding with anything.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Inasmuch as "canon" can get with a driving game. Battle OutRun, OutRun Europa, and OutRun 2019 are excluded from the official 20th anniversary music collection, meaning they aren't considered proper installments in the series.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: Played straight with OutRun 2. The game was followed by 2 SP DX, 2 SDX, 2006: Coast 2 Coast, and finally Online Arcade.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: If you don't move at all in the original, the flag man starts gesturing at the driver to move on. After a while, he turns his back to the driver in exasperation. In OutRun 2 he also alternates between stretching his limbs and dancing the Moonwalk.
  • Cool Car: The first game had you drive a Ferrari Testarossa convertible. Later games had you drive any of a variety of cars - primarily Ferraris, and dodging out of the way of slower regular everyday cars like VW Beetles, etc.
  • Death Is Cheap: Crashes are cheap. If you crash, the game resets you after a few seconds. Even if your car barrel-rolled several times and you were thrown out of it onto the asphalt and an obstacle car ran over your head. Just keep in mind that a couple of crashes is all you need to lose the game.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: OutRun 2019 was meant to be named something else (Junker's High), but renamed to fit the OutRun series as it has similar gameplay. It lacks the most prominent features such as the Ferrari or the couple as protagonist.
  • Drives Like Crazy: A series trademark. Your passenger doesn't care unless you crash.
  • Driving Stick: Massively simplified gearbox with two options: Low gear and High gear. OutRunners also had cars with 3 or more speed, but the way you shift pretty much amounts to pushing the up/down lever until you reach the gear you want. OutRun 2 has 5 or 6-speed manual gearboxes depending on the car, but all share the same up/down functionality (similar to Initial D Arcade Stage games before Zero); to make things simple, it also includes an option for automatic transmission.
  • Embedded Precursor: The Xbox version of OutRun 2 includes the original arcade game as an unlockable.
  • Fauxrrari: The first game didn't have official licensing from Ferrari (that would happen beginning with Scud Race), despite using everything about the Testarossa's styling, up to and including the prancing horse logo on the back; re-releases of the game usually replace the Testarossa with a similar yet generic Ferrari expy. The cars were fully licensed in OutRun 2 and its derivatives.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The high score music, "Last Wave", only plays for about half its duration in the arcade games, as there's a time limit. The full song plays on the console versions.
  • Marathon Level:
    • Turbo OutRun has you race against a rival throughout 16 courses continuously. But a saving grace happens after every four stages in which you get a "pit stop" with upgrades being applied to your car before proceeding.
    • The "15 Continuous Courses" mode in OutRun 2's derivatives. Running 15 stages in rearranged order doesn't take 15 minutes to finish if you're skilled however. But even for a Ferrari road car, this is tedious. And unlike Turbo OutRun, no pit stops were given.
  • Mayincatec: The Legend stage in OutRun 2006 combines in one single place the Olmec heads in the state of Tabasco, the atlantes of Tula, Hidalgo, the Temple of Kukulcan in Chichén-Itzá, Yucatán, the Major Temple in the heart of downtown Mexico City, and the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán just north from Mexico City.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Depending on the route you pick. Results can range from the driver (or the passenger) being given a trophy to the car just falling to bits.
    • OutRunners has one ending for each tag team you pick, independent of the route.
    • OutRun 2 returns to form with new endings rendered in 3D. And, true to form, they can be hilarious (especially routes A and E).
    • Averted with OutRun 2019, which has only one ending.
  • Nintendo Hard: Since most games' single-player modes don't have any opponent cars, your true opponent is the harsh time limit.
  • One-Man Army: Although you are accompanied by a token female passenger.
  • Pinball Scoring: The score counter goes up very quickly in the original game, about 30,000 points per second at top speed. Completing the game awards 1,000,000 points per second remaining on the clock.
  • Race Against the Clock: The gameplay style. If time runs out, you lose. You win simply by making it to the end without running out of time.
  • Recycled In Space: OutRun 2019 is OutRun IN THE FUTURE!
  • Respawn on the Spot: Whenever your car crashes and rolls out of the road, it comes back fixed at the cost of a few seconds.
  • Retraux: "Radiation", a music from 2006, gets a nostalgic 16-bit version in the Nintendo Switch port of the first game.
  • Rubber Band A.I.: In later games. OutRun 2 has a Slipstreaming mechanic that can reinforce this.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The original game had lots of varied scenery, which looked pretty spiffy for the 16-bit era.
    • OutRunners is no slouch either, building on the style of the first game with some great spritework.
    • Come OutRun 2 and its updated re-releases, the stages look lifelike and absolutely gorgeous.
  • Scoring Points:
    • Like many driving games, you continuously gain points as you drive, and get a big bonus based on time left if you reach the goal.
    • In OutRun 2, you gain points for passing traffic cars, and even more for passing rivals, but hitting a car will reduce the bonus you get from passing it. There's also Heart Attack mode, a special mode where your passenger gives you various missions (such as passing cars, passing through gates, and drifting along a path) and completing these missions rewards you with hearts and letter grades.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: While the original OutRun isn't set in a specific place (though implied to be a condensed Europe), Turbo is set in Eagleland and OutRunners is a world rally.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the original OutRun's "B" ending, when the car reaches the finish line and the couple steps out, it instantly falls apart in the same manner as the car in The Blues Brothers.
    • After every fourth stage in Turbo OutRun is completed, a remixed version of Fantasy Zone's shopping music plays as the player chooses a new part for their car.
  • Synthwave: The Trope Namer for "OutRun" music, due to how its chiptune soundtrack has the kind of 80s synth vibe that characterizes synthwave. The Switch version of the game plays on this by including an actual synthwave song: "Driver's Megamix Vol. 1".
  • Unit Confusion: In OutRun 2019, the units are messed up. In the North American version, the HUD displays "mph" next to your speed, and in other versions it's “kmh” instead; par for the course. But the only version that gets the units correct is the European version, in which your car has a max speed of 692 kmh; the North American version shows 692 mph, and the Japanese version shows 341 kmh.
  • V8 Engine Noises: Every single Ferrari in OutRun 2 and its subsequent releases emit a NASCAR-like V8 engine note, not unlike the stock cars from Daytona USA. The problem? Not all of the cars in-game are powered by a V8 (There's the V6-powered Dino, and the V12-powered 365/4 Daytona and Enzo), and those that are V8 powered would not emit the same sound as an American V8 due to differences in the type of crankshaft used (Ferrari uses flat-plane crankshafts for their V8 engines. The typical American V8 engine, including those used in NASCAR, use a cross-plane crankshaft).
  • Vanity License Plate: The box-art above shows 'OutRun' as the license plate. You'd think that number plate would catch the attention of the local police. OutRun 2 onwards followed a formula of MO (Modena, the Italian city where Ferrari is headquartered) followed by some letters and numbers referring to the car and/or its engine (MO 512 TR for the 5-liter, 12-cylinder powered Testarossa).
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The 3DS and Switch versions of OutRun redesign the car's back to look less like Ferrari due to licensing issues (which also resulted in OutRun Online Arcade being delisted from online stores).
  • What the Hell, Player?: Crashing often results in your passenger flipping out at you. In OutRun 2, this is accompanied by a scathing comment about your driving abilities.

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